Top News

Temeka Stevens doesn’t let gender stop her from playing Cape Breton baseball

Temeka Stevens has played for several different baseball teams during her 15-year career. The L’Ardoise product has suited up for provincial teams as well as local teams. Along with playing female baseball, she’s also spent time with male dominated teams. PHOTO SUBMITTED.
Temeka Stevens has played for several different baseball teams during her 15-year career. The L’Ardoise product has suited up for provincial teams as well as local teams. Along with playing female baseball, she’s also spent time with male dominated teams. PHOTO SUBMITTED. - Jeremy Fraser

EDITORS NOTE: This is the first of five stories in a Cape Breton Post series highlighting local women in sport and female events. The series will run until Friday as part of International Women's Week.


L’ARDOISE, N.S. — Temeka Stevens doesn’t know what it’s like not to play baseball in the summer.

The L’Ardoise product has played the sport in Cape Breton for the past 15 seasons. Although there aren’t many all-female teams on the island, it hasn’t stopped Stevens from reaching her full potential.

The 19-year-old has played the majority of her career with male-dominated teams, however also suited up for all-female provincial teams at the under-14 and under-16 levels.

“I have had amazing experiences on both male and female teams,” said Stevens. “It can be slightly intimidating at times playing on male teams, but I have persevered and had great results and that’s what matters the most.”

Stevens is known to play second base, however does a fair amount of pitching as well, the majority of the time against male teams.

Celebrating women and girls in sport. - SaltWire Network
Celebrating women and girls in sport. - SaltWire Network

Mixed reactions

“When I’m pitching against boys who I haven’t previously played against they usually have no idea what to expect from me,” said Stevens, who threw her first pitch when she was nine years old.

“I believe most of them are shocked when they see me take the mound since female pitchers are not as common.”

Stevens admits she gets mixed reactions from people when she’s pitching against males, but it’s not something she allows to get in her head.

“Some are surprised while others think It will be easy for them to get a hit off me,” said Stevens, the right-hander. “They usually learn quick that I’m just another player and pitcher with the same love of the game as them.”

In some cases, as the only female on a team, Stevens said there were times when she felt pressured to try harder to fit in with other players.

“It’s not out of the ordinary to get strange or surprised looks when I step up to the plate or take the field, but most of the boys are pretty accepting,” she said. “I love playing competitive baseball — trying to outshine the guys is the most fun.”

Dedication to sport

Paul MacDonald coached Stevens during her time with the Cape Breton Expos under-18 ‘A’ program based out of Sydney Mines. He spoke about her dedication to the sport.

“She was very competitive and tried her best when pitching or getting some playing time at second base and right field,” said MacDonald. “At the plate, she drew her share of walks.”

Growing up, Stevens began her baseball career with the Richmond Cougars Minor Baseball Association in St. Peter’s where she played for eight years.

She later suited up for the newly-renamed Richmond Royals association, where she played four years with the organization, while also playing provincially with all-female teams and attended a national championship with the under-16 team.

Stevens later decided to continue her baseball career in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, making the hour-and-33-minute drive to New Waterford for games and practices for the under-18 ‘A’ Dodgers before joining the Expos for two years.

“There were organizations around Richmond County that would have been closer to home, but I knew I wanted to be involved in competitive baseball which is why I made the decision to travel to CBRM,” said Stevens. 

Temeka Stevens of L'Ardoise prepares to deliver a pitch during Nova Scotia Under-18 ‘A’ Baseball League action last summer. The 19-year-old has played with all female baseball teams as well as male dominated teams over her 15-year baseball career. She most recently played with the Cape Breton Expos. PHOTO SUBMITTED.
Temeka Stevens of L'Ardoise prepares to deliver a pitch during Nova Scotia Under-18 ‘A’ Baseball League action last summer. The 19-year-old has played with all female baseball teams as well as male dominated teams over her 15-year baseball career. She most recently played with the Cape Breton Expos. PHOTO SUBMITTED.

“Even though it was further to travel, I stayed dedicated to playing the game and made the commitment to attend all the games and practices to help me improve.”

Only girl

This past season, along with playing with the Expos, Stevens participated in the Sydney Sooners’ Competitive Baseball League. She was the only girl in the league.

Overall, although her experiences playing for all-male teams was positive, Stevens understands why some females wouldn’t play on all-male clubs.

Temeka Stevens has played for several different baseball teams during her 15-year career. The L’Ardoise product has suited up for provincial teams as well as local teams. Along with playing female baseball, she’s also spent time with male dominated teams. PHOTO SUBMITTED.
Temeka Stevens has played for several different baseball teams during her 15-year career. The L’Ardoise product has suited up for provincial teams as well as local teams. Along with playing female baseball, she’s also spent time with male dominated teams. PHOTO SUBMITTED.

 “I believe that one of the main challenges female athletes face when playing on male-dominated teams in Nova Scotia could be the gender discrimination that can come into play,” said Stevens.

“In any aspect of life this can happen, but it can be seen in the world of sports as well. Most teams I’ve been part of have thankfully accepted me, but some other females get mistreated while trying to play the game.”

Aside from playing, Stevens also volunteers her time as a coach with the Richmond Royals’ T-ball and under-11 baseball teams during the summer months.

Inspiring others

“I wanted to give back to the kids around here and show them that anybody can have these opportunities,” said Stevens, who considers herself to be a role model for other female athletes who want to play baseball.

“I was scared at first to play on all-male teams, but I went out of my comfort zone and the results were worthwhile.”

Although her minor baseball career is over, Stevens doesn’t plan to stop playing. She hopes to suit up for the St. Peter’s Royals in the Richmond Amateur Baseball Association this upcoming season.


TEMEKA STEVENS

  •  Hometown: L’Ardoise
  •  Age: 19
  •  Sport: Baseball
  •  Position: Second base and pitcher
  •  Last Team: Cape Breton Expos (Under-18 ‘A’)

RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories